Sippin' with Stogies
Well, after a very therapeutic morning, I am so enjoying Smokeinn May Connoisseur Club #4 and in doing so was brought back to the memory of our conversation about Dry Boxing. You really can't even start this conversation without first discussing storing and aging cigars before you get to the dry boxing.
Storing cigars and why we use humidity is easiest clarified by understanding why. The leaf used in a cigar has oils that come to the surface of the leaf and are inside the leaf. Most, if not 90%, of flavor comes from the oils. so in order to maintain great flavor you must keep the oils from dissipating but also do not destroy the integrity of the cigar by over humidifing. Over humidifing will make the cigar swell and unravel. So, just like us, a cigar holds a lot of moisture. The proper balance over the years and what many have found to work is the 70/70 rule in storage. We have found going over 80 causes damage and under 60 causes the oils to dissipate way faster over a shorter period of time.
Aging cigars long term is not that much different than storing, but to slow down aging and dissipation of oils, I try to maintain about 60 degrees and 72 percent humidity which takes a little bit more work.
Now that we have a good common understanding of proper storing and aging, we get to the Dry Boxing and why some of us find it essential to really tasting what a cigar is at optimum by Dry Boxing first. Dry Boxing is more science than art, but I find it really adds to the experience, because more thought is involved. I will be honest, I don't always Dry Box for many reasons, but most of it has to do with time and impulse. There is thought and patience when it comes to Dry Boxing. First, you have to pick out the cigars you wanna smoke, say over the next few days. Second, you need a solid cedar box that holds a good seal. I currently am using a Fuente Box Humidor with no humidification. When I test it, it holds at about 60 dry with no humidification here in Florida. Now, all Dry Boxing is allowing the cigars to come out of that aging or storing humidor and allowing some of that excessive moisture to be absorbed by the cedar. Usually anywhere between 6--48 hours, depending on the thickness of leaf on the cigar, is sufficient. Thicker broadleaf usually needs more time and thin leaf requires less time. What you taste and your smoking experience will change significantly. Many burn issues disappear and the cigar tastes better. You will taste cigars in a very different light. For an experience to see how it works, smoke 2 of the same cigars -- one at 72 and one properly Dry Boxed and see how different of an experience you have. Also, you will see the cigars are more oily because the oils come to the surface at lower humidity.
I hope this will help you have a better experience. And keep in mind, most of this is my opinion and what I have learned from others in my study and enjoyment of cigars over the past 30 years.